After the Louisiana flood disaster response winds down the reweaving of the psycho-social fabric will need to begin.
The Floods in Louisiana
I have worked in and around Lafayette, Louisiana and with Cajun and Louisiana people for more than thirty years. I have delighted to learn about their regional, ethnic, religious, and family cultures. Their communities and families have fabrics woven through them that create strength and beauty.
These floods are ripping at that fabric and testing these people, their families, and their communities. One of my clients was recently rescued from their house by boat having lost all of their physical possessions.
Reweaving the Psycho-Social Fabric
In my own life I have experienced the successes, losses, and reversals like most of us have. All of these situations have necessitated that I perform, with the help and support of others, a psycho-social reconstruction of the fabric of my life.
As I have worked professionally I have worked with organizations where people have died in on-the-job accidents, died publicly while speaking with groups, and have taken their own lives. There have also been times when businesses have tanked in the market place, when layoffs and reorganizations have created chaos, and when internal conflict has threatened the fabric of culture.
There is a side to personal and organizational life that requires incredible endurance, adaptability, flexibility, and resiliency.
Sometimes these events occur as a natural, unintended consequence of our own or others behavior. Sometimes events occur that are seemingly random, like an ambush, a product of the totally unexpected or as a result of our lack of observation and attentiveness to our environment. A lack of mindfulness or situation awareness.
But whatever the causal factors or circumstances, once a psycho-social fabric has been torn, you must repair it. Or at least it must heal. Hopefully, but not assuredly, for the better.
Here is the underlying principle:
When there is change, there is loss. When we experience loss we must mourn. And it is while we cycle and recycle through the grief process that we can begin to reweave the psycho-social fabric of our lives.
Our Agency, Our Choice in Healing
A friend recently broke a bone in their foot. The doctor told them to wear a boot to protect the foot during the healing process. When they balked at wearing the boot the physician said “Of course, you don’t need to wear the boot. Once your foot becomes necrotic and gangrenous I can just surgically remove your whole foot.” The person got the message and is wearing the boot.
We have a choice about both this physical and psycho-social healing process. We can either engage in the healing process positively, pro-actively, and vigorously or it will occur in a haphazard and often negative fashion without us.
Organizations are the same. When a psycho-social disruption occurs we can intervene, learn the nature of the damage, and take action to promote healing. Or we can ignore it and pretend it will go away. I have had many projects where organizations have gone through a merger, acquisition, reorganization, or other major disruption. Most leaders chose to ignore the issues of culture and organization design before these events, as these events occur, and even after these events. Often I have been invited to help heal, mend, and re-weave the psycho-social fabric 3 to 5 years after the damage began.
It would have been easier and less costly to deal with these events before and as they were occurring.
Wear the boot or loose the foot.
Pay me now or pay me more later.
I advocate the position that we should be active weavers and re-weavers of the psycho-social fabric of the individual, organizational, and community settings in which we find ourselves.
What individual, organizational, or community psycho-social fabric do you need to be reweaving?
More to come on how.